Purdue looks to put together all the pieces it needs to be a contender around All-American candidate Carsen Edwards when the Big Ten season resumes Thursday night against visiting Iowa. The Boilermakers showed some progress Saturday when they limited Belmont to 24 points in the first half of a 73-62 victory and received another strong performance from Edwards, the nation’s second leading scorer at 25.8 points per game.
“I think that’s what we’re searching for,” Purdue coach Matt Painter told reporters. “Now, can we beat good teams when we don’t shoot the ball well? We didn’t shoot the ball well in the second half (Saturday), and we beat a good team so that’s what I think we have to keep working toward.” Edwards scored 24 while the Boilermakers held Belmont to almost 30 points below its average and look for a similar effort against Iowa, which has won five in a row since losing its first two Big Ten contests. The Hawkeyes shot the ball poorly in losses to Wisconsin (39 percent) and Michigan State (32.8) to open their conference campaign, but knocked off Iowa State by 14 to start the winning streak and survived a scare from Bryant on Saturday with a 72-67 triumph. “It’s going to be a challenge going back into conference play,” Iowa junior guard Jordan Bohannon told reporters. “. … These next 18 games, it’s going to be a lot of fun to be able to travel on the road in hostile environments, (and) to play against an All-American (Thursday).”
TV: 7 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network
ABOUT IOWA (11-2, 0-2 Big Ten): Junior forward Tyler Cook leads the team in scoring (16.8) and rebounds (8.5) while shooting 59.2 percent from the field after recording his fourth double-double in seven games on Saturday. Cook’s partner up front Luka Garza (12.7 points) will be a game-time decision Thursday after missing the last two contests with an ankle injury, and 6-7 senior Nicholas Baer would take his place in the lineup if he can’t go. Freshman guard Joe Wieskamp scores 11.2 per game and is draining 42.9 percent from 3-point range, including 9-of-18 in his last four outings.
ABOUT PURDUE (8-5, 1-1): Edwards scored at least 20 in 11 of 13 games this season and has teamed with senior guard Ryan Cline to drain 90 shots from 3-point range -- connecting on 39 percent of their attempts combined. Cline is the only other Boilermaker scoring in double figures (13.1) and he sits seventh in the Big Ten in assist/turnover ratio (2.5) while dishing out 45 assists -- one behind Edwards for the team lead. Matt Haarms (7.6 points, 60 percent from the field), a 7-3 sophomore center, scored 12 and grabbed eight rebounds to go along with three blocks versus Belmont.
1. Purdue junior F Evan Boudreaux averaged 11.2 points the first seven games this season, but managed just 3.5 the past six.
2. Bohannon is averaging 10.5 points overall, but poured in 35 with all the field goals (11) coming from 3-point range in the last two games.
3. The Boilermakers lead the series 89-76 and connected on a school-record 20 3-pointers in an 87-64 win at Iowa last season.